GRE vs GMAT: What Are the Differences and Which Should I Take?

You are about to embark on the journey of a master’s degree. You’ve already completed your undergraduate degree and now you have decided that you want to pursue business programs and learn more in-depth theories by taking graduate courses. To do this, you must first apply to graduate schools. This is where GRE vs GMAT comes in; which of these entrance exams will help increase your chances of being accepted into a program? That’s what I intend to explain to you today. Before we get into the details, let’s talk a little bit about GRE vs GMAT so we can get an idea of these different tests. What is each test composed of and what types of questions are there?

GRE Test:

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations; it is required by most universities as part of their admission process. GRE is a 3 hour and 45-minute exam that covers three key areas: verbal reasoning sections, a quantitative section, and an analytical writing section. GRE tests your analytical skills because you must read the question carefully and then analyze all available information in order to reach a conclusion. GRE scores range from 130-170 for each section and are reported along with an overall GRE score. GRE tests consist of multiple-choice questions and use a computer to keep track of your answers. GRE test topics include math, the physical sciences, social sciences, and English composition.

GMAT Exam:

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is required at most business schools; much like GRE, it requires you to take a 3 hour and 30-minute exam that covers three key areas: critical reasoning, quantitative skills, and analytical writing. GMAT tests your ability to test in a time crunch; you must be able to apply what you have learned to a given situation quickly. GMAT is also known as the “business school admissions test” for MBA admissions because it helps schools determine if an applicant has the skills necessary to succeed in a business program. GMAT tests use multiple-choice questions and stopwatch timing for each section; it is taken on a computer but you can take it with pencil and paper as well. GRE test topics include math, the physical sciences, social sciences, English composition, and reading comprehension.

GRE vs GMAT: Key differences between the tests?

The GRE and the GMAT are pretty much the same standardized test with minor differences between the two. The major difference between GRE vs GMAT is that the GRE is required for most graduate programs, while the GMAT is only required for business school programs. This means that if you’re planning on pursuing a Master’s in education or engineering then GRE tests would be your best option; whereas those who are pursuing a business career would be better off taking the GMAT. In more recent years, MBA programs have been accepting the GRE general test as an entrance exam but we warn you that most programs are going to want to see GMAT scores. If you plan on business school applications, our recommendation is always to take the GMAT test even if the school says they will accept either. Most business school programs are partial to the GMAT test so to be safe, just take the GMAT.

Another small note on the differences in the costs involved with taking each test. The difference between the test costs is negligible, it’s about $50 more or less cheaper for the GRE than for the GMAT. We say it’s negligible because when you are talking about tens of thousands of dollars for the program costs itself, $50 should not be a determining factor for which test to take.

GRE vs GMAT: Which should I take?

The best way to figure this out is to know where you want to pursue your graduate school degree. The most notable difference between the 2 tests is the area of study you want to pursue. If you want to pursue an MBA degree then the GMAT would be the better choice. If you want to go for a graduate degree in engineering, math, science, education, etc then GRE is your best option. This is not to say that you can’t get into a business program with a GRE score but most schools ask for or require a GMAT score for business school admissions so it’s best to just take this test instead of determining if the GRE is accepted. Always check with the university or program itself before taking the test. This will take any of the guesswork out of it.

GRE vs GMAT: What GRE or GMAT scores do I need to be accepted to graduate school?

In order to answer this question directly, you must first understand that every program and university is different in its admissions process. There are several variables they consider and a high score is only one of them. A general rule of thumb for scores would be: GRE- 318 and above and the GMAT- 650 or above are considered good. For top business schools (think Harvard business school) or graduate programs, shoot for an excellent score: GRE- 329 or higher and GMAT- 720 or higher.

The good news is that GRE or GMAT test scores are not the only factor in being accepted into a program. In fact, most graduate programs take GRE or GMAT scores into account when reviewing your application for acceptance; GRE or GMAT scores do not guarantee your acceptance into a graduate program. Some programs have minimum GRE or GMAT scores that must be met in order to apply, whereas others may have set minimum GRE or GMAT score ranges for which they are looking. Programs that require GRE or GMAT tests also know the average GRE or GMAT scores of the candidates they accept into their program. GRE or GMAT scores are one factor among many that graduate programs use when deciding whether or not to accept an applicant into their program; GRE or GMAT test scores are not the most important factor in a graduate school application, but GRE and GMAT tests will give you a good idea of how well prepared for graduate work you might be should your application be accepted.

GRE vs GMAT: What should I know for GRE or GMAT?

Do some research before taking GRE or GMAT tests, which are offered on a daily basis at most different test centers across the United States. The GRE website offers information about what topics will be covered on each section of their exams, how long each section will take, and much more! For GRE information click here. GMAT offers similar preparation and practice resources, so be sure to check out their site for more info! Click here for GMAT options.

GRE vs GMAT: What should I bring to GRE or GMAT?

Bring all of the necessary documentation. If you plan to take a GRE exam in person then you’ll need two forms of identification as well as your social security number; if you plan to take your GRE test by mail then a private personal ID is required along with either GRE school code (if applicable) OR institutional PIN which can typically be obtained from the institution directly or through online research. Bring your materials and arrive early on the day of testing, it gives you time to double-check the information that you have provided (name, address, etc.) GRE and GMAT tests are typically offered on a daily basis; GRE test times can vary based on the testing center while GMAT test times are all the same.

GRE vs GMAT: What do GRE or GMAT scores mean?

GRE and GMAT tests are both different in their own way; GRE is a general achievement test whereas GMAT is more specific to your professional career goals, so it may not make sense to compare GRE to GMAT scores. However, you can find out what the average GRE or GMAT score is for those accepted into a particular graduate program online. The US News & World Report publishes data about programs across the nation every year, so be sure to check out their GRE or GMAT scores sections!

In a nutshell:

The GRE and GMAT are both equally important in graduate school admissions. The level of importance has to do with the program and course of study you are choosing to enroll in. If you are looking for a master’s in education, science, engineering, mathematics, or anything outside of medical school, law school or business school- opt for the GRE test. If you are looking for a business school route, especially a more competitive program, stick with the GMAT for admissions considerations. Here at Beasley College Prep, we do offer a full-service program if you are seeking help with graduate school testing, admissions, and funding. If you are interested in learning more about that program, please book a consult with one of our coaches and they can walk you through the process and answer any questions you might have.

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